Pay Traffic Ticket in Rhode Island
Your RI traffic ticket payment options depend on where you received the citation and which court is handling it; generally, tickets are handled by the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal or presiding municipal court.
Common payment options include online, by mail, by phone, and in person.
Pleading Guilty to Your RI Ticket
Essentially, paying your RI traffic ticket outright is an admission of guilt―even if you plead "no contest."
When you pay your ticket, you can expect the following:
- You conveniently can pay a Traffic Tribunal ticket online.
- Generally, municipal courts allow drivers to pay ticket fines by mail, by phone, or in person. See How to Pay Your RI Traffic Ticket below for details.
- NOTE: The Traffic Tribunal handles state violations; the municipal courts handle city violations.
- Depending on the severity of the violation and your personal driving history, pleading guilty:
- This could lead to driver's license suspension or revocation and label you a “habitual offender."
- You might be required to complete a defensive driving course.
- Typically, this depends on your specific violation.
- You auto insurance company will probably increase your rates.
- The judge might dismiss your traffic ticket on good driving record claim.
Be sure to pay your ticket fine by the deadline on your citation; failure to pay on time can result in a default judgment and an order for:
- Driver's license suspension or revocation.
- Vehicle registration suspension.
- State income tax withholding.
CDL Drivers & RI Tickets
Generally, as a commercial driver in Rhode Island you can plead "guilty" or "no contest" or challenge your traffic ticket in court the same way any other driver would; however:
- You must notify your employer within 30 days of a RI traffic violation conviction.
- This applies no matter what type of vehicle you were driving at the time.
- You must notify the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 30 days of a violation conviction if you received it in another jurisdiction.
- Understand that pleading to or being found "guilty" of certain offenses can lead to CDL suspension or revocation.
- The length of time depends on the violation; some revocations are for life.
- CDL suspension and revocations can severely affect your income and possibly your career.
How to Pay Your RI Traffic Ticket
Depending on which court is handling your citation, you can pay your RI traffic ticket online, by mail, by phone, or in person.
Before you pay, note that:
- Your violation might require a court appearance.
- Check your citation for information about a required court appearance, the date, and any other instructions.
- If you don't have to appear in court and are able to pay your fine outright, you'll probably need your traffic ticket for some crucial information.
- Refer to our page on Lost Traffic Tickets in Rhode Island for details on how to retrieve that information if you've misplaced your citation.
Currently, Traffic Tribunal tickets are the only RI traffic tickets you can pay online. Your citation should state whether the Traffic Tribunal or a municipal court (and which one) is handling your case.
The Rhode Island Judiciary provides an online payment system for Traffic Tribunal tickets; simply visit the website, choose the appropriate option, and follow the system's prompts.
Other Payment Methods
Again, municipal courts don't accept online payments for moving violations in Rhode Island.
Generally, you can pay your fine by mail, by phone, or in person. Of course, this depends on the individual court, so check your citation for payment information or contact the court directly.
Also, be sure to ask about the forms of payment the court accepts. For example, many courts accept major credit and debit cards, personal or cashier's checks, money orders, and/or cash. The accepted forms depend on your court and the whether you want to pay by mail, by phone, or in person.
Ticket Dismissal & Car Insurance
Your judge might require you to complete a state-approved defensive driving course to satisfy the traffic ticket. This this doesn't necessarily mean the court will dismiss your ticket; likely, it means you must complete the course as a consequence of your violation.
Your judge will explain your options and/or requirements.
Good Driving Record Ticket Dismissal
You can request a hearing to have your ticket dismissed on the basis of having a good driving record if:
- You've had a driver's license for at least 3 years.
- You haven't had a traffic ticket in the previous 3 years.
Your ticket dismissal isn't free, though; if the court decides to dismiss your ticket for having a good driving record, you must pay:
- A $35 administrative fee for court costs.
- A $25 surcharge for the ticket dismissal.
However, not all violations are eligible for dismissal. For example, the court won't dismiss your ticket if it involved a school bus, personal injury or property damage, or a commercial vehicle.
The state provides more details on applying for a ticket dismissal based on your good driving record and which tickets are not eligible for dismissal.
Car Insurance Rates
Most likely, your car insurance rates will increase when you receive a traffic violation conviction; this depends on your insurance provider's policies, but it's common.
Talk with your agent about this possibility (usually, it doesn't take place until it's time for you to renew); if you find out you're facing an auto insurance rate increase, start comparing insurance quotes online to find more affordable coverage.
Check Your Driving Record
Rhode Island doesn't use a point system; however, the state does record traffic violation convictions on your driving record and this can affect your driving privileges, car insurance rates, and even employment opportunities.
Whether you plead “guilty" and pay your fine, apply for and are granted a ticket dismissal, or decide to challenge your ticket in court, be sure to check your driving record to:
- Check that the record:
- Shows ONLY the violation to which you plead “guilty" or were found “guilty" in court.
- DOES NOT show any violation the court dismissed on the basis of your good driving record (or possibly for completing a defensive driving course).
- Make sure your driving privileges are intact.
- Although Rhode Island doesn't use a point system, the state will still suspend your license for certain violations such as driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.